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Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
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enum
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Joined: 30 Mar 2011
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Posted Thu Sep 15, 2011, 11:22am
Subject: Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
 

( I just got a West Bend 82416 Air Crazy popcorn popper (Click Here (www.amazon.com)) for roasting at home, as well as several pounds of green coffee from sweet maria's. The reason I chose this model is because there was a recent article on home roasting that pushed me over the edge to try it. The article can be found here: Click Here (blog.craftzine.com)

Anyway, I've had what I would call successful roasts, but being with any sort of mentor, I'm not sure if things are going as they should be.

The roasts seem to be taking much longer than other people say it should. The article says it shouldn't take much longer than 6 minutes, but I'm roasting for at least 10-15 minutes. The ambient temperature in my house has been pretty low lately, but I can't tell if this is the issue or if the popper has a mechanism built in for shutting off the heating element after a certain temperature.

I can definitely hear the first crack, but the second crack is where I'm getting stuck. I'm not sure if I can't hear it because the popper is so loud, or if it's not even happening because it's not getting hot enough. The color of the resulting roast suggests that at least some of the beans are undergoing second crack, but I don't have any way to measure the temperature and make sure it's getting hot enough. I'm pretty sure I've heard it, but as soon as I shut the machine off, the cracking does not continue (I might have heard one or two small cracks on the last roast, it's hard to say). I also haven't had any problem with the coffee giving off smoke as everyone says. It does release a bit, but not nearly enough for me to consider moving outside. There is also no lingering stench that I've seen people describe. Sure there is smell, but it goes away and isn't by any means terrible.

I'm hoping some of you more experienced roasters can help me out. Here is a photo album of some of the roasting I did yesterday: http://imgur.com/a/k6y03#lZTsP
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jkoll42
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Posted Thu Sep 15, 2011, 11:37am
Subject: Re: Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
 

Congratulations for getting into roasting - it has become one of my favorite things to do!  I started out with a Poppery I popper so although I don't have the same popper the basics should be the same.  10-15 minutes is long without the beans being charcoal.  What is the weight of beans you are using per batch?  With a popper the beans actually roast faster as you use more beans, but if you use too many they will be uneven due to bad circulation.  It could certainly be an overheat sensor killing the temps as well.  

It is hard to tell bean color from pics but I don't think they look like they were in 2C yet.  Any oil on the bean surface?  As far as the smoke, the heaviest smoke is close to/ into 2C.  Personally I have always liked the smell!

One note re the article:  the piece about going a few minutes past 2C is IMHO nuts.  My darkest espresso roasts might go into 2C for 30sec's (which is rare) but most roasts I ever do stop before the second crack or just into for espresso.
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enum
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Joined: 30 Mar 2011
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Espresso: Rancilio Miss Silvia v3
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Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Sep 15, 2011, 2:12pm
Subject: Re: Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
 

What is the weight of beans you are using per batch?

I was using a little under a half of a cup as per sweet maria's guide. I think it was probably around 3/8 of a cup. I wasn't quite sure how fast they should be spinning initially.

It could certainly be an overheat sensor killing the temps as well.

This worries me a bit. I'm not sure how I should go about figuring whether I need different equipment. Other people have claimed success using this very popper, so I would think not unless they too were roasting incorrectly.

It is hard to tell bean color from pics but I don't think they look like they were in 2C yet.  Any oil on the bean surface?  As far as the smoke, the heaviest smoke is close to/ into 2C.

No oil that I can tell, and the bean surface does seem a bit rough. Definitely not a lot of smoke at the end of any of my roasts yet. I don't think I'm getting into 2C stage. I'm going to try it with more beans and see the outcome.

One note re the article:  the piece about going a few minutes past 2C is IMHO nuts.  My darkest espresso roasts might go into 2C for 30sec's (which is rare) but most roasts I ever do stop before the second crack or just into for espresso.

This is pretty much what I'm aiming for, but I have no idea where 2C starts yet.
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enum
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Joined: 30 Mar 2011
Posts: 22
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Miss Silvia v3
Grinder: Modified Mazzer Super Jolly...
Drip: Clever, Aeropress, Chemex
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Sep 15, 2011, 4:39pm
Subject: Re: Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
 

I tried two more batches. One at 100g or so, which definitely roasted faster (under 7 minutes) and produced more smoke initially. This batch definitely turned out a bit uneven, but still looks drinkable.

The second batch was around 85g. This batch had 1C at around 2:30, and I think I heard a second crack around 6:20 where I stopped it. It was really hard for me to tell the difference between the cracking sounds, so I'm still not sure if it was just a crack from 1C.

As for oils, I'm not sure if they are there or not. How long does it take for the oil to start coming out of the bean? Do you get any oils if you stop at the very start of 2C? Some of the beans definitely looked like the blew up, so I'm assuming I got at least a few of them to the 2C stage.
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jkoll42
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Posted Fri Sep 16, 2011, 5:38am
Subject: Re: Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
 

Usually if you stop the roast even just a bit into 2C you will not see much oil.  Oil usually means the beans are quite deep into 2C.  It is hard to describe the exact sounds, but I have always thought of 1C as being more of a definitive 'crack' and 2C a faster paced less forceful 'snap'.  1C is from the expansion of the bean and 2C from fracturing of the internal structure so usually after 2C you will see a few little pieces of bean that fractured off the sides (but not always).   If the 85g batch looked more even than that is probably where you want to be as far as batch size.  The only thing that is a bit strange is how long it is taking to get to 2C.  Usually with poppers the toughest thing is to slow down the roast especially between 1C and 2C.  People will use extension cords or variacs to slow it down so I am not sure why it is taking so long to get to 2C.

The big question - how does it taste???
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JPDyson
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JPDyson
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Posted Fri Sep 16, 2011, 8:08am
Subject: Re: Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
 

First Crack sounds like popcorn almost; the best comparison I've heard for Second Crack is either breaking a toothpick or the sound Rice Krispies make when you pour milk on them.

Batch size is a big factor in roast time in these; too big of a load will cause under-agitation, and some beans will burn while others never finish. Too little coffee, and the roast will over-agitate and never really reach high enough temperatures to carry the roast through first crack. It sounds like you're getting close to a good batch size. Keep at it. Of course, if you are adventurous, you could remove the overheat sensor, and wire in controls for heat and fan independently. This helps you control the roast better, particularly at different batch sizes.

I have to warn you, though - this is the gateway drug. Next think you know, you'll either be saving your pennies for a "real" roaster, or eyeing every Stir-Crazy and Turbo Oven you walk by at the thrift store, reading tutorials online... it's addicting (and upgraditis is looming).

 
--Josh
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enum
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Joined: 30 Mar 2011
Posts: 22
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Miss Silvia v3
Grinder: Modified Mazzer Super Jolly...
Drip: Clever, Aeropress, Chemex
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Sep 16, 2011, 1:57pm
Subject: Re: Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
 

The results have been pretty good (much better than your average store bought crap, but still far below roasters like intelligentsia).

I tried two more roasts today with an Ethiopian bean (the others were a Honduras variety). I used 87g for the first batch and 84g for the second, and although they both entered 2C, they were very uneven, despite my efforts to help it along in the early stages with a wooden spoon (How far into the roast is it safe to agitate with a wooden spoon without introducing too much air?).

However I noticed that before, when I was using much smaller batch sizes and it wasn't getting roasted hot enough, the Ethiopian bean actually was coming out much nicer than anything else. It is seeming like I may need to tailor my roasting process to each bean specifically in terms of weight going in -- bummer.

I think one reason I may have so much time between 1C and 2C with this roaster is due to my crappy electrical in the apartment. It's probably not pulling as much power as it could be -- my breaker will trip if I run my AC the same time I run my hot water kettle.
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enum
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Mar 2011
Posts: 22
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Miss Silvia v3
Grinder: Modified Mazzer Super Jolly...
Drip: Clever, Aeropress, Chemex
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Sep 19, 2011, 1:52pm
Subject: Re: Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
 

I think I've found the proper method for this machine. I'll post it here in case anyone stumbles onto this page.

This is what I know about roasting coffee with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper:

First, as far as I can tell from the manual, there is no control that will disable the heater at a certain temperature, so that shouldn't be an issue when roasting. Also keep in mind, the electrical in my apartment is sub-standard, so your own experience may vary slightly.

I start by warming up the popcorn popper (just a little bit!) by running it with nothing in it. Then I put 75 grams of green coffee in (this measurement may vary for you, but it's usually between 75 grams and 85 grams to start). If you don't put enough coffee in, the beans will not retain enough heat and will hardly get through first crack. If you put too much coffee in, the roast will end up very uneven (some beans in second crack, some not even through first crack).

Once I have my 75 grams in, I turn the machine on, and begin stirring it every couple of seconds with a wooden spoon to keep everything even. I keep the hood off until the beans are no doubt changing color. As the beans get tossed more violently by the popper you can stir it less, but I recommend to keep stirring it now and then to keep the roast more even. I also believe by stirring you allow more heat to escape, allowing you more time between the first and second crack to stop your roast. Stirring will also help more of the chaff to break up, I found that with less stirring the resulting roast had way too much chaff left in it, and was much more uneven. With these settings I've been able to reach 2nd crack in under 10 minutes, no problem.

I've also noticed that some beans just work better than others. I haven't quite figured out what it is, maybe bean size, water content, or some other factor. I've probably had the best results with Honduran beans so far.
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EricBNC
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EricBNC
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Posted Mon Sep 19, 2011, 3:31pm
Subject: Re: Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
 

enum Said:

The results have been pretty good (much better than your average store bought crap, but still far below roasters like intelligentsia).

I tried two more roasts today with an Ethiopian bean (the others were a Honduras variety). I used 87g for the first batch and 84g for the second, and although they both entered 2C, they were very uneven, despite my efforts to help it along in the early stages with a wooden spoon (How far into the roast is it safe to agitate with a wooden spoon without introducing too much air?).

However I noticed that before, when I was using much smaller batch sizes and it wasn't getting roasted hot enough, the Ethiopian bean actually was coming out much nicer than anything else. It is seeming like I may need to tailor my roasting process to each bean specifically in terms of weight going in -- bummer.

I think one reason I may have so much time between 1C and 2C with this roaster is due to my crappy electrical in the apartment. It's probably not pulling as much power as it could be -- my breaker will trip if I run my AC the same time I run my hot water kettle.

Posted September 16, 2011 link

I am not convinced you did anything wrong - I remember reading some info over on SM that some Ethiopian naturals will have variations in color in the roast.  It goes on to recommend not culling these since they add to the sought after "wildness" in the cup.

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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JPDyson
Senior Member
JPDyson
Joined: 12 Apr 2011
Posts: 417
Location: Durham, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama tc5
Drip: V60, Bonmac, Chemex
Roaster: Behmor, Poppery II
Posted Tue Sep 20, 2011, 8:35am
Subject: Re: Roasting with the West Bend 82416 Air Crazy Popcorn Popper
 

EricBNC Said:

I am not convinced you did anything wrong - I remember reading some info over on SM that some Ethiopian naturals will have variations in color in the roast.  It goes on to recommend not culling these since they add to the sought after "wildness" in the cup.

Posted September 19, 2011 link

Depends on processing; you'll get quakers with Dry Process beans because the sorting process for defects is a bit less precise. Washed coffees, less so - skimming the floaters seems pretty effective. Of course, I love a good DP Ethiopia, even if I have to cull the roast. It's worth it.

 
--Josh
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